Aug 3, 2023 - News

Florida police ramp up their crackdown on street racing

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Police in Florida are cracking down on street racing in the first year of a new law enacted to curtail it.

Driving the news: Police responded to several street takeovers in South Florida last month, where drivers did doughnuts and stunts while spectators set off fireworks, Axios Miami reports.

Why it matters: The takeovers, which are being promoted on social media, cause chaos for drivers and can be deadly.

  • A 13-year-old was killed earlier this year in St. Petersburg when he was hit by a motorcycle involved in a street race.
  • Cameron Herrin is serving 24 years in prison for one of Tampa Bay's most notorious cases when the then 18-year-old killed a mother and daughter while racing on Bayshore Boulevard in 2018.

Catch up quick: Between 2018 and 2022, there were 6,641 citations issued statewide for either street racing or stunt driving, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

  • Pinellas County's racing citations jumped from 71 in 2018 to 135 in 2022. Hillsborough's went from 30 to 89 in that time.

Between the lines: Under the state law enacted last year, it's not just drivers who can now be charged for street racing.

  • Anyone organizing a street race, riding as a passenger or filming from a vehicle can also be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor.
  • For a first violation, an offender can have their driver's license temporarily revoked and be fined up to $1,000.
  • Offenders may also have their cars impounded.

What they're saying: In response to state data, Tampa police told Axios in a statement it "should be clear to anyone who thinks they can participate in street racing or takeovers anywhere in Tampa or Hillsborough County: we will catch, we will arrest you, and we will impound your car."

The big picture: Cities and states around the nation including Denver, Philadelphia, Des Moines and Minnesota are cracking down on street racers.


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